Time management is one of the most important things to be more efficient at work─and life. Being able to control your time and use it better than other people is a skill just like any other.
We all have the same hours in a day; the difference lies in how much we can do with the time we got. Doing the things that matter (getting a healthy rest, working out, full-focus work) over the irrelevant ones (social media, watching one more episode of your TV show).
But we're not here to talk about this. We want to discuss how to know your time management is on point! In this post, we'll be using some KPIs to know which metrics we should be taking a look at and where we can improve.
Disclaimer: Results may vary
Remember that these metrics may not suit everyone, so don't feel discouraged if you think these KPIs aren't what you're looking for. Your specific situation is a massive variable in these cases.
At the end of the day, our time is our own, and we live different lives. Try to come up with your own unique ones and share them down in the comments!
# of tasks completed
How much can you get done in a day? 5, 10 tasks? Knowing this metric is relevant to see the load you can put on yourself every day, and it's the easiest one to identify. Just keep track of your task list for two weeks to collect it.
However, sometimes doing a lot doesn't mean you're doing much. Quantity doesn't equal quality.
Doing 3 tasks that are relevant, important, and difficult tend to be better than doing 12 tasks that don't matter much.
A great way to improve this metric is by doing an honest prioritization of your tasks. If you know what needs to be done each week, you'll learn how to distribute your efforts.
We wrote an article on the Eisenhower Matrix that helps to know what you should be doing and avoid. Give it a read.
% completion of daily tasks
Let's say you set 8 tasks to do for today. If you check your to-do list in the evening, will they all be completed? That's what we're looking to know with this metric. Knowing the initial number and working around it will do you wonders.
Just as the first KPI, collect your task lists for two weeks and take the average completion of all those days. That number will be your starting point, and you'll play with it based on how the other metrics.
For example, if you do 10 tasks each day on average and have a completion rate of 70%, you should think twice if it's a good idea to add new tasks to your workday.
Likewise, if you're doing 7 tasks each day on average, and you have a completion rate of 100%, can you add more to your daily list? The short answer is: maybe. The long one is the other two metrics we'll see shortly.
Finally, improving this metric is to analyze how much you do on a day and determine your most and least productive days. This will help you adjust your week in a way that you can be productive without losing your mind in the process.
# of days overwhelmed or tired
Doing a lot is great and all, but taking care of your body and mind is also essential to blaze through the day. You would think that successful people are the ones who can do 20 tasks in a day, and 3 of them at the same time, but that rhythm is an unhealthy way to think.
Every night, when you're wrapping up the day, leave a short time to write how you felt today, or even faster, just mark if you've been happy, annoyed, sad, or anything else. Getting the metric of good and bad days, and doing some analysis, will help you know if you should do more or less,
Some of the ways to adjust this metric are known:
Eat and sleep better.
Get some sunshine.
Communicate your concerns.
Let it all out.
You can also do some analysis of your bad days and reflect on why you felt that way and what you can do about it.
# tasks that went off the time limit
Being conscious and responsible for your time is relevant to you and the people around you (sometimes). When a task you set a timebox of 2 hours is off the time limit, something's wrong and needs to be taken care of.
Be aware of the time limit you set for a task, and know what happened to the ones that passed the deadline. Collect this information by adding a footnote to every task that took more time than you thought and calculates its average.
The usual is starting with 3 or 4 underestimated tasks, but our final goal will be to have this number at 0.
What do I do now?
Data without context is meaningless, so we'll give you some ideas to kickstart your analysis and see where to go from here.
Play with the number of daily tasks
Tips and tricks work to an extent, but time management is also about experience and self-awareness. Mix the load you set on some of your days to know how comfortable you feel doing some tasks on different days.
Perhaps you can set a day of the week where you do deep work and some other where you're chilling. Variation (under a fixed structure) is what will lead to success here.
Find your triggers
A sad day may come from a 2-hour meeting that could've been an email, or perhaps you met someone you're not very fond of. Find the things that set you in a bad mood and try to avoid them, or a healthier option, deal with them.
Share with a friend
The concept of accountability-buddy is not new, but it's also potent when you want to change a habit or, in this case, manage your time better.
You need to find a friend who's not going to be sympathetic and give input on your situation and maybe open your mind to other options you hadn't thought of.
It may take some time to find the person, or you may already have thought of it; everyone has a different support system. Just take your time.
Make a plan
What are the strategies you'll implement to lower your numbers? How much do you want to improve? In how much time? All of these questions are important to make a plan that works for you.
You could set a system of small improvement over time. Collect two weeks of tasks and use that data to create a two-week plan with a definite set of statistics that will help you
Like the Avatar bent air, you have the chance to bend time. We hope these KPIs serve as a starting point for you. We're excited to know what you can do with this information and what KPIs you can develop to keep track of your time management skills in a better way.